I Don’t Want to Be Like Jack

Yesterday I wrote about my weariness after a week of running non-stop, taking on many extra tasks in addition to what I normally do. As a result, I have expended almost everything I have, and I have felt as if I was running on fumes. After our Tuesday night meeting, I am finally able to relax a little bit. Wednesday is my normal day off, and I am taking Thursday off as well. I am setting aside time to rest (or at least eliminate some of the normal routines so I am not doing as much).

As part of my resting, I am re-watching LOST (nearly finished with season 1). This is actually my third time through the series, but I find new things each time I watch an episode. Anyway, one of the episodes I watched was Do No Harm. In the episode Jack (the resident doctor and de facto leader) has to try to save the life of one of the other castaways. In the series’ story Jack has been running non-stop for weeks, never allowing himself to rest, taking on the weight of leadership he was unprepared for. And here he keeps pushing. He has a hard time letting things go, and he fights to the bitter end. Jack cannot see his problem, and it takes a friend pointing out that he needs to step away, and his patient telling him to let go before Jack is able to finally begin to rest. (Though he really doesn’t rest, and charges off on a quest to bring the person he holds responsible for his patient’s death to justice. He has to be ordered to rest after collapsing from exhaustion. I have experienced this type of exhaustion in my past and have no desire to do so again.)

I relate to Jack this week. I know what it feels like to be pulled in multiple directions, trying so very hard to be the best at everything I am trying to accomplish. I know what it is like to bring my work home with me, and to have a hard time separating myself off to allow myself to rest. I pray that I do not find myself in Jack’s predicament, but the reality is that I do. I need someone (this time my sick wife) to come alongside me and tell me to step back.

Jack is a very heroic character. But he is also a broken character. I do not want to emulate the flaws. Hopefully I can remember this lesson more readily in the future.